Sunday, August 14, 2011

Statues of St. Benedict's

St. Benedict - transept
explanation below
We are blessed with many beautiful works of art in our parish. Our windows are truly spectacular, as is the Gothic architecture of our church building.  However, for Catholics, it goes without saying that all art pales in comparison with the glory of God and the glory of His people.  We Catholics surround ourselves with sacred images to remind us of our family. We never worship images; we worship only God. But we never worship alone.

Here is what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says about sacred art : 
2502 Sacred art is true and beautiful when its form corresponds to its particular vocation: evoking and glorifying, in faith and adoration, the transcendent mystery of God - the surpassing invisible beauty of truth and love visible in Christ, who "reflects the glory of God and bears the very stamp of his nature," in whom "the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily."(Heb 1:3; Col 2:9). This spiritual beauty of God is reflected in the most holy Virgin Mother of God, the angels, and saints. Genuine sacred art draws man to adoration, to prayer, and to the love of God, Creator and Savior, the Holy One and Sanctifier.

Our statues of Jesus are the most important of course. Here is the crucifix over our altar. Jesus is the center of our Church and the center of our parish.

Crucifix in natural light

On the right side of the main altar, we have a side altar dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  As you know, the Sacred Heart of Jesus is also shown in the western transept window as well. It is a presentation of Jesus, accenting his humanity, that comes from the visions of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque. 

Perhaps the one statue of Jesus that needs explanation is the small Infant of Prague statue in the transept.

Here the Child Jesus is shown crowned and holding a globe surmounted by a Cross. This signifies Christ's Kingship over all. His right hand is shown in the traditional symbolic gesture used on icons and art work of Christ. The two fingers symbolize the hypostatic union (Jesus is BOTH God and man). The three fingers symbolize the Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit).

Mary, whose titles include the "Blessed Virgin" and "Theotokos" (Mother of God), is well represented at St. Benedict's.  Here are some photos of our statutes of Mary...

Mary statue with Butterfly plant - Main Street

snake at base of Marian statue - detail
see Genesis 3:15 - the protoevangelion
and Revelation 12 - "the moon under her feet"

face of Mary - side altar statue, detail

Mary with Christ Child - rectory garden

We have a wonderful statue of St. Joseph in our transept.  St. Joseph is the Patron saint of the whole Church and of the Diocese of Buffalo.  That is why Joseph gets a special place opposite our parish patron, Benedict.
St. Joseph - transept

St. Joseph and the Child Jesus - detail

Our patron, Saint Benedict, is also one of the patrons of Europe and of monks.Our transept statue was the first one in this article. He is shown as an abbot carrying a crozier and the Rule of his Benedictine Order (the book he carries).  Benedict is often shown with a dove as well.  He saw the soul of his sister, St. Scholastica (we have a window of her in the sacristy), rise to heaven like a dove.

Here is our outside statue of St. Benedict on the Eggert Road side of the church.

St. Benedict - outside, Eggert Road
St. Francis of Assisi, Il Poverello (the little poor one) also has statues inside and outside of our church. Here is our inside statue of Deacon Francis:
St. Francis - inside

skull from base of St. Francis statue - Sister Death
St. Francis, school garden
in remembrance of the Franciscan Sisters who taught in our school

St. Anthony of Padua has a statue in our transept. Here he is shown with the Child Jesus. He is often invoked to help find lost objects.

St. Anthony of Padua - transept statue

The two patron saints of missionaries are represented in St. Benedict's. There is a transept window of the great Jesuit, St. Francis Xavier (who did mission work in Asia).

There is a statue of the great Carmelite, St. Therese of Lisieux (who wanted to be a missionary but could not).  St. Therese is sometimes called the "Little Flower."  Known for her great humility, her statue is an obvious place to end this presentation.

St. Therese of Lisieux, the Little Flower - transept